An appeals court in Oklahoma has upheld the murder conviction of Richard Glossip, a death row inmate. The ruling has cleared the way for Glossip to be executed on May 18, even though the state attorney general expressed concerns about some of the evidence and testimony presented in the case. However, Glossip still has the option to plead for clemency before the five-member Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. If the board recommends that the governor commute his sentence to life in prison without parole, Glossip’s life may be spared.
Richard Glossip, who has faced execution before, was within hours of being put to death on three separate occasions. However, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has recently upheld his murder conviction, stating that his case had been extensively investigated and reviewed. The court also noted that Glossip had been granted unprecedented access to the prosecutors’ files.
“Yet he has not provided this court with sufficient information that would convince this court to overturn the jury’s determination that he is guilty of first-degree murder and should be sentenced to death,” according to the ruling written by Judge David Lewis.
Glossip’s attorney said he would continue to seek a new trial.
“It is unconscionable for the court to attempt to force the State to move forward with his execution,” Knight said. “We cannot permit this longstanding injustice to go unchallenged and will be filing for review of this manifestly unjust ruling in the United States Supreme Court.”
Richard Glossip, an Oklahoma death row inmate, was denied a second appeal to overturn his 1997 murder conviction. According to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, he will still be executed in May. The court’s decision comes just two weeks after a special counsel report recommended that Glossip’s conviction be vacated and that he be granted a new trial, citing newly uncovered evidence in his case.
Glossip, a former motel manager, was imprisoned for 26 years after being convicted in 1998 of capital murder for allegedly ordering the killing of his boss, Barry Van Treese. However, Glossip has consistently maintained his innocence, insisting that he had no involvement in the murder. Despite this, he has narrowly avoided death three times, as previous execution dates were postponed due to reprieves or stays of execution. In January, Glossip was informed of his ninth execution date, May 18.
The appeals court justices have upheld Richard Glossip’s murder conviction in a unanimous 5-0 ruling. The judges stated that Glossip had exhausted all possible avenues for relief and no legal or factual grounds would require his release.
After the ruling, Glossip’s attorney, Don Knight, spoke with him and shared that Glossip was feeling low and asked if he should prepare to be executed on May 18. This will be Glossip’s ninth scheduled execution date, and Knight noted that no one should endure this many times.
Early this year, Gentner F. Drummond appointed an independent special counsel to review Glossip’s case. Knight called it a “hugely significant” move and “the right thing to do.” In a statement, Drummond said that it is his responsibility to ensure that all evidence presented through Glossip’s conviction and incarceration is appropriately addressed.
Glossip maintains innocence
In Oklahoma City, a man named Barry Van Treese was killed with a baseball bat by then-19-year-old Justin Sneed. Sneed admitted to the killing and was given a life sentence in exchange for testifying against Richard Glossip. The prosecutors claimed that Glossip had arranged the murder-for-hire plot.
Recently, it was revealed that Sneed had expressed a desire to recant his testimony, stating that he needed to “clean up” some things. A special counsel report also included this evidence and other findings that led to the conclusion that Glossip’s murder conviction should be vacated and he should be granted a new trial.
Glossip’s attorney, Mark Drummond, agreed with the report’s findings and petitioned the court to grant Glossip a new trial. However, Drummond clarified that he was not suggesting that Glossip was innocent.
Despite this, on Thursday, the justices ruled that Drummond’s concession did not provide sufficient statutory or legal grounds for relief in this case.
Richard Glossip’s attorney, Don Knight, has expressed dismay at the Oklahoma court’s decision to uphold his client’s murder conviction. Knight argued that the State’s star witness, Justin Sneed, was not truthful and that it would be immoral for Glossip’s execution to proceed.
Oklahoma’s elected Attorney General, Gentner Drummond, conducted his independent review of the case and found many doubts surrounding Glossip’s guilt. Despite respecting the court’s opinion, Drummond said he was unwilling to allow an execution to proceed given these doubts. His office is now reviewing the next steps in the case.
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